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Teachers adding COVID-19 safety measures without state mask mandate

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 7:33 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - This year, as teachers prepare lesson plans, they are also making sure their classroom is COVID-19 ready. This is something Carver High School teacher Sharon Cargill never expected to be doing.

“What I do is I stand at the door and I pass out the hand wipes. I ask students to go ahead, wipe their hands and then wipe down the Chromebook,” Cargill said.

Cargill is currently teaching summer school where students are required to wear masks. However, this is not a mandate from the state.

“What is relevant in one part of the state might not be in another part of the state,” said Michael Sibley with the Alabama State Department of Education. “It largely depends upon how the virus is spreading and impacting that area. That’s why it’s very difficult to put any type of blanket mandate out.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends universal masking in schools for students 2-years-old and up. However, Governor Ivey said in statement that students do not need masks in schools. Instead Ivey and other officials are pushing for more vaccinations.

“I would encourage teachers first of all to get vaccinated,” said Sibley. “We’re encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. We certainly understand the concern people have for their personal safety and for the safety of their children.”

Cargill said mandate or not she will continue to clean her classroom frequently so she is comfortable.

“I always want to do things that’s going to make sure that I live to see another day,” Cargill said.

Sibley says more decisions from districts on mask mandates should roll out as the school year approaches.

The Alabama Department of Public Health has more vaccination on their website or through their Hotline number, 1-800-270-7268.

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